BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa being sworn in as Karnataka chief minister in the presence of Governor Vajubhai Vala. (Source: PTI)

Karnataka Tussle: Supreme Court Asks Yeddyurappa To Take Floor Test Tomorrow

The Supreme Court today directed BS Yeddyurappa-led Bharatiya Janata Party to prove its majority in a floor test in the Karnataka assembly at 4 p.m. tomorrow.

The bench asked Yeddyurappa, the interim chief minister, to not take any executive decisions till then. The court also barred the nomination of an Anglo-Indian MLA, Vinisha Nero, by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala till the BJP is able to prove its majority.

The court made it clear that they are making any orders on the challenge related to the decision of the Governor to invite BS Yedurappa to form the government and that will be heard separately. The next date of hearing for that is after 10 weeks.

‘’It may consume substantial time and the final decision cannot be given immediately, we deem it proper that Floor Test to ascertain the majority of one or the other group is conducted immediately and without any delay,’’ the Supreme Court said in its order.

The apex court’s order came on a petition by the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Indian National Congress, which had challenged the governor’s decision to invite Yeddyurappa to form the government after election results threw up a hung assembly. Yeddyurappa took oath as chief minister yesterday, shortly after the Supreme Court in a middle-of-the-night hearing refused to stay the swearing-in but said it remained subject to the final outcome of the petition.

Also read: Yeddyurappa: The Clerk Who Made It Big In Corridors Of Power

These are the other key highlights of the order as uploaded on the court’s website are:

  • Pro-tem Speaker shall be appointed for the aforesaid purpose immediately.
  • All the elected members shall take oath tomorrow(19.05.2018) and this exercise shall be completed before 04.00 p.m.
  • The Pro-tem Speaker shall conduct the Floor Test on 19.05.2018 at 04.00 P.M. in order to ascertain the majority.
  • Adequate and sufficient security arrangements shall be made and Director General of Police, State of Karnataka will himself supervise the said arrangements so that there is no lapse on this count whatsoever.

Time given for the floor test is too short, former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee said after the order. At least a week’s time should have been given, he said.

The apex court had directed Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, appearing for the BJP, to produce the letter written by Yeddyurappa to the governor. The letter stated the number of legislators supporting the BJP.

The Magic Number

The BJP emerged as the single-largest outfit in the southern state but fell short of a majority. The saffron party with 104 seats is eight short of 112 to cross the halfway mark to form majority. The Congress and JD(S), which announced a post-poll tie-up, won 78 and 37 seats, respectively.

Both contenders met the state’s governor on Tuesday to make their case. Late on Wednesday evening, Vala is said to have issued a letter to the BJP inviting it to form government. The letter stated the BJP could decide on the date and time of the swearing-in ceremony and had 15 days to prove its majority on the floor of the assembly. That was seven more days than the BJP had reportedly asked for.

Also read: The Karnataka ‘Nataka’: Ten Takeaways